Lucius

FBT plays The Omen the Video Game. AKA, the ultimate Murder Sim …


Lucius is one of those games where no matter how much you complain about it, it still sounds awesome. Even though I know it’s not, I’m convinced it was great.

On 6/6/66, little Lucius is born into the wealthy Wagner family. On Lucius’ sixth birthday, his real father – Satan – appears and tells him to start collecting souls to repay a family debt. Lucius silently agrees and starts offing everyone in the house, revealing family secrets.


Since Lucius is a silent ‘hero’ we never really know if he’s enjoying murdering everyone in sight. He is unnervingly blank and emotionless, even before the old man triggered his homicidal tendencies. He has a cute notepad he writes his plans in, and they are disturbingly indifferent. I have no idea how he chooses his victims, Satan never specifies and Lucius doesn’t react to a scolding or chores with murderous intent, you just toddle him around the house until he spots a particular someone and it’s game on. Well, it’s not really a game.

Murdering people should be a lot more fun than this. It should be a pre-school Assassin’s Creed, where we’re planning and executing, literally. We’re not watching routines, spotting opportunities, finding weaknesses; the kill is pre-planned. Lucius picks his prey, we gather the required tools and a cut-scene has all the fun. You spend a lot of time looking for things; in fact, Lucius ran for 22 miles (4 shy of the Marathon Achievement, damnit) during my playthrough.


While all this is going on, a Detective (‘McGuffin’ amusingly enough) keeps investigating and deciding they’re all accidents. He’s at the mansion so often he gets invited to Christmas dinner – where we kill the butler with an icicle. That was actually a good one, and there are some nice touches like you get given chores if you bump into mum; Muuuuum, I’m trying to murder the maid, do I have to brush my teeth now?! But while doing those chores increases the household's opinion of you, they don’t help in-game; it would be great if particular people were suspicious and caused problems unless you charmed them – or offed them…


The deaths are epically graphic, the kind you’d expect from Mortal Kombat’s Fatality moments, but you’re indifferent because there’s little in the way of planning or ownership of the kill and since Lucius is silent, no emotional investment - even when he escalates to family members. I just don’t get joy out of a successful kill. Sorry, I mean, I don’t get a sense of achievement having murdered someone. No, that doesn’t sound right either ... - I love the setup, the house, the way it apes Omen, and Lucius is terrifyingly blank, but this is a walking simulator and I signed up for a Murder Simulator.


As we progress, the little tyke’s rampage is augmented by Dad giving us special powers - that further remove you from the wet-work. I get that Lucius is the Prince of Darkness and would have a few demonic tricks, but they’re not as much fun as getting your hands dirty. Early on you gain telekinesis, which allows you to make objects lethal but because it’s predetermined you’re not being creative with it. Later you gain mind-control, so now I just wave my hand like a murderous Padawan and folks are leaping off balconies, firing nailguns and sticking their heads in lawnmowers. Yawn.


By the end I’d murdered 20 people but never felt guilty/triumphant, because I didn’t really do it. It is grisly, gory and cool, but its not down to your own imagination or ingenuity. I guess I hoped to have the game reveal I had a natural talent for whacking people, that I can murder with panache…



There’s also a fair few frustrations. You’re always lost, even with the map (which is no help), and that gets really frustrating when certain missions require stealth – it’s never not funny to be a murderer who can be sent to bed if you get spotted after dark, but that resets the entire mission. You never heard of a checkpoint? Telekinesis is a real pain to use - one murder has us use it to direct a hair dryer into a bath. Classic horror film stuff, but when I finally landed it I was relieved rather than pleased I’d electrocuted someone. And it can be buggy; the few one-on-one fights are a crapshoot, NPCs can be impossible to find, some requirements are down to sheer luck, doors won’t open, you get stuck, and your fireballs often don’t work – being the Antichrist can be annoying.


As you’d expect, it comes down to a fiery standoff with priests - followed by a sudden ending which leads into Lucius II. But the best of the franchise isn’t Lucius, it’s ‘Lucius Demake’, a rework as an 80’s 16-bit game. Somehow it’s a lot more fun playing a blocky antichrist.


By the end, I wasn’t sure about if I should write a review or see a therapist. I didn’t enjoy playing Lucius, but I enjoyed being Lucius … All the ways I think Lucius could be better make me sound psychotic – more open world, engagement, planning, character building, options, opportunity and freedom to kill … I was expecting Rockstar’s Bully meets Manhunt, but it's just a hidden object game.


Still, looking back Lucius seemed great fun in its own way. You’re just hitting your marks, and not in the way you’d hope but I did enjoy it once everything was set and the victim walked into my trap. It’s no Murder Sim though, Jack Thompson can relax. It’s not made me want to kill. It is a shame I don’t have a maid though…